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A wall of Black Lives Matter art sits in front of preparations for Joe Biden's inauguration near the White House. Photo: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

President-elect Biden will on Wednesday launch a "whole-of-government" initiative aimed at advancing racial equity in federal policymaking and rooting out systemic racism from programs and institutions.

Why it matters: Biden’s win relied heavily on voters of color — especially Black Americans.

The big picture: A description of the executive action defines equity as "the consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, including individuals who belong to underserved communities."

  • "Analysis suggests that closing racial gaps in wages, housing credit, lending opportunities, and access to higher education would amount to an additional $5 trillion in gross domestic product in the American economy over the next 5 years, and create millions of new jobs."
  • "We are a nation founded on principles of equality and it is in the interest of everyone across the country that the government be intentional in ensuring that its policies reach all of us in an equitable way."

Biden's initiative will:

  • Direct every federal agency to conduct a baseline internal review of the agency’s "state of equity."
  • Launch a new equitable data working group to ensure federal data accurately reflects the nation.
  • Task the Office of Management and Budget with allocating federal resources to communities of color.
  • Improve engagement with and delivery of government services to underserved communities.

Susan Rice will head a “robust interagency process to hold the federal government accountable for advancing equity for families across America."

  • The executive action also rescinds the Trump administration’s 1776 Commission, which “sought to erase America’s history of racial injustice,” as well as Trump’s order preventing federal agencies and contractors from holding diversity and inclusion trainings.

Go deeper: America's unfinished business

Go deeper

Black Lives Matter movement nominated for 2021 Nobel Peace Prize

Protestors take part in a Black Lives Matter march outside the Parliament building in Oslo, Norway in solidarity with U.S. protests over the death of George Floyd. Photo by Stian Lysberg Solum/AFP via Getty Images

The Black Lives Matter movement has been nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for compelling countries around the world to address systemic racism.

Why it matters: The BLM movement launched in 2013 following George Zimmerman's acquittal for shooting Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager. The case kickstarted the international movement to address the controversial deaths of Black people, particularly at the hands of police.

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker